“The influenza season is here and it’s already looking like a bad one compared to recent years, so we recommend everyone get an annual flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine or booster,” said Burlington County Health Department Director Dr. Herb Conaway. “With the holiday season upon us, it is imperative for everyone, and vulnerable residents in particular, to take precautions. It will help protect you and those around you.”
Residents who have yet to receive their annual flu shot can obtain one at any of the upcoming clinics scheduled at the Health Department, 15 Pioneer Boulevard, Westampton. The clinics are scheduled for Dec. 15 from 2 pm. to 4 p.m., Dec. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Jan. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon.
All four clinics will be walk-up and are open to anyone aged six months or older. The vaccine is available at no cost to county residents, but donations are accepted.
All residents six months and older are encouraged to get vaccinated, but health officials stress the shot is especially important for older adults, young children, and people with weakened immune or cardiovascular systems, or with chronic metabolic disease, renal dysfunction or blood disorders. Pregnant women and those who live or work with elderly residents, young children or people with chronic health problems are also highly recommended to get the flu shot.
Influenza activity is currently considered high across all parts of New Jersey, including Burlington County. Statewide, more than 33,000 confirmed cases of flu have been reported so far this season, according to the New Jersey Department of Health, which monitors cases of influenza and other respiratory illnesses. The department’s surveillance includes reports from hospitals, schools and long-term care facilities.
In addition to vaccines, residents are encouraged to take the same precautions that were encouraged during the worst COVID outbreaks, including frequently washing hands, using hand sanitizer and wearing a high-quality and fitted face mask when in crowds or close quarters indoors. Residents feeling sick with symptoms should also remain at home.
“The same precautions that helped curb the spread of COVID-19 also help control the spread of seasonal influenza,” Dr. Conaway said. “Those who are most at-risk of both flu and COVID should consider masking in public, and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated and help protect those who are vulnerable.”
Health officials also warn that COVID strains also remain active and can still pose a threat, particularly to the unvaccinated.
The county health department continues to administer COVID vaccinations and bivalent boosters at weekly clinics at the following locations:
- Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Gibson House Community Center, 535 East Mains Street, Evesham
- Thursdays from noon to 6 p.m. at the Bordentown Senior Center, 3 Municipal Drive, Bordentown;
- Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Burlington County Health Department, 15 Pioneer Boulevard, Westampton.
Appointments for the clinics can be made online at https://patientportal.advancedmd.com/149623/onlinescheduling/v2/providers or by calling (844) 569-0390 during normal business hours.
“Influenza activity is high, but we’re seeing a significant rise in all respiratory illnesses, including COVID,” said Conaway. “Vaccinations offer the best defense, so if you still haven’t gotten either shot, please don’t wait any longer.”